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Five lessons learned from nesting pigeons


There is a pair of crested pigeons nesting in a date palm in my front garden. Over the past two months I’ve been watching this pair make its nest, lay eggs and sit on their precious white, marble-sized cargo waiting for their offspring to break out.

My daughters and I often check the eggs to see how they are coming along in the hatching process (so far, no baby pigeons). While I’ve been watching this whole process I’ve recognised some very important business lessons that can be learned from this pair of pigeons. As always, the best lessons are often the simplest or ones derived from nature.

#1. Never leave your perch. Even when I got right up close to take the photo shown here this pigeon didn’t move. Pigeons, by nature, are pretty flighty birds but this pair wasn’t moving for love or fear. They knew their goal and did everything possible to ensure the safety of the cargo they were sitting upon, even when their instincts probably screamed at the to fly away.

The business lesson: it might seem tempting to pack up and run when things turn tough. But, remember, you will never land the end prize if you do so.

#2. It’s always the team work . With the crested pigeons, both sexes share the incubation of the eggs and both care for the young. If they didn’t work together they wouldn’t have got their nest done, wouldn’t have anywhere to lay their eggs and wouldn’t move their species forward.

The business lesson: Don’t lose sight of the eventual goal when disagreements or arguments come to pass. Focus on moving forward, instead of flapping around and fighting, which gets nobody anywhere.

#3. Stay calm and carry on. When we first started watching this pair of pigeons there were two eggs in the nest. When I checked their nest a few days ago there was only one. Imagine the despair these pigeons must have felt when returning from finding food or water to discover one of the eggs missing, either from a predator or from the wind blowing it out of the nest. So what do you think they did? They simply continued sitting on that last egg and will likely continue to do so until it hatches.

The business lesson: Even when life throws you a curveball, stay calm and carry on.

#4. If at first you don’t succeed…The interesting thing about the crested pigeon nest in the date palm in my front garden is that it’s the second nest I know of that this pair has made. Their first attempt was in a fern that hangs in our patio. For some reason this proved unsuitable to them. So the two moved along and built a bigger, better nest.

The business lesson: We don’t always get things right the first time but that’s no reason to give up or not try once again.

#5. Reduce your exposure to risk. The date palm in my front garden has some pretty nasty spikes on it. That said, it’s a pretty clever place to build a nest as the natural predators to these eggs (animals like lizards, rats, mice and crows) are less likely to venture into this labyrinth of spikes.

The business lesson: By choosing the right location or place to do business (industry, price point or product/service) you can reduce your exposure to risk and lift your chance of success.

To recap, this pair of pigeons has been through starting a nest, giving up on it and building a new one in a potentially dangerous and hostile environment. It has had one of its eggs lost or stolen, too.

Still, the pair, undaunted, continues its march to the original goal.

Isn’t that a lesson worth sharing?

Peter Dowse is the director of Marketeam, an Australian web design, online marketing and SEO company headquartered in Brendale, Qld.